Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday Night News and Notes

-Former Badger Brendan Smith (pictured), who is having an outstanding first season as a professional has been named to the AHL All-Rookie team. A former first round draft selection of the Detroit Red Wings, Smith has recorded 32 points in 57 games from the blueline for the Grand Rapids Griffins. With only four defensemen currently under contract for next season for Detroit, I would be surprised if Smith is not a regular in Mo-Town next fall.

-Two other members of last seasons Frozen Four Wisconsin squad were also recently honored. Andy Bohmbach of the Toledo Walleye and Ben Street from the Wheeling Nailers were both named to the ECHL All-Rookie team. Bohmbach leads all ECHL rookies in points with 68. Street is fifth amogst rookies with 51 points despite only playing 38 games. Street was called up to the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on February 3rd.

-Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves recently met with all the players on the roster for post season evaluations and sophomore's Justin Schultz and Craig Smith reiterated their plans to stay in Madison and play at least one more season for the Badgers. The biggest concern at this point right now is junior forward Jordy Murray who is still weighing his options of leaving to play pro hockey overseas next season.

-The New York Rangers blog "Blueshirt Banter" has a fantastic article up about former Wisconsin defenseman Ryan McDonagh who is making waves in the big apple. The article hits on what McDonagh brings to the team with his maturity, which is rare for a 21 year old playing in the NHL.

-Another link courtesy of the Wisconsin Men's Hockey facebook page...Andrew Joudrey, a member of the 2006 Wisconsin National Championship team has been named Hershey's "Man of the Year." Joudrey, a forward for the AHL's Hershey Bears is being honored for his outstanding work in the Hershey community this season. Read the article, they have some very, very kind words for Mr. Joudrey. Makes you proud that he was a Badger.

-Justin Schultz, who had been named a top 10 finalist for the 2011 Hobey Baker Memorial Award did not advance to the next round. The top 10 were narrowed to 3 as the Hobey Hat Trick was announced yesterday. North Dakota forward Matt Frattin, Miami Forward Andy Meile, and Boston College forward Cam Atkinson are your finalists.

-Denver University was the latest WCHA school to lose an underclassmen to the NHL this off-season. Sophomore defenseman Matt Donovan signed an entry level contract with the New York Islanders this week. The former 4th round NHL draft pick was a second team All-WCHA defenseman this season. Donovan is the fourth WCHA underclassmen to sign, he joins Wisconsin's Jake Gardiner, Minnesota's Aaron Ness, and St. Cloud's Oliver Lauridsen.

-Odds have been released for the 2011 Frozen Four. According to Bodog.com, North Dakota is the favorite to win the title at even money, Michigan is a +275, Minnesota-Duluth is a +375, and Notre Dame is +425.

-Yesterday when I was talking about the U18 World Championships I shared with you Chris Peters from the United States of Hockey blog's view on Nic Kerdiles. Today he profiled the defensmen including 2011 Wisconsin recruit Jake McCabe. It's a good read and an outstanding blog.

-Believe it or not, Wisconsin assistant coach Gary Shuchuk is now on twitter. Follow him @gshuchuk. Additionally, Craig Smith (@Csmith1515), Chase Drake (@1Cdrake5), Frankie Simonelli (@FSimonelli27), and Jefferson Dahl (@JDahl14) are now on twitter. 2011 goalie recruit Joel Rumpel (@Rumpz91), and 2012 forward recruit Morgan Zulinick (@mzuli15) are also now in the twit game.

Current players Eric Sprigner (@eSprings4), Mark Zengerle (@Zengerle9), and Justin Schultz (@6Schultz6), as well as former players Scott Gudmandson (@ScottGudmandson), John Mitchell (@JohnMitchell24), Sean Dolan (@SeanDolan16), Michael Davies (@MikeGDavies), Ryan Jeffery (@RyanCJeffery), Shane Connelly (@ShaneConnelly), Brett Bennett (@BjBennett88), Zach Bearson (@zbearson), Blake Geoffrion (@BlakeGeoffrion), Brad Winchester (@bradwinchester), Kyle Turris (@kyleturris), Joe Piskula (@skoolz43), Jake Gardiner (@jGardiner272), Cody Goloubef (@cgoloubef27), Brendan Smith (@bssmith7), and Sean Hill (@seanrhill) have been on twitter for a while.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

McCabe to blog for 60 Minutes in Germany

With great pleasure I'm pleased to announce that Wisconsin recruit Jake McCabe, who Wednesday afternoon was named to the United States Under 18 team that will participate in the U18 World Championships in Germany April 14-24th has agreed to blog for us while he's overseas.

McCabe will be giving us a brief daily update on how the team is doing, what they are doing, and some different insights that you can't get from simply following the box score from the IIHF website.

The 17 year old defenseman from Eau Claire, Wisconsin will be the third Badger recruit to blog for us while participating in the U18 World Championships. Two seasons ago, current Badger sophomore defenseman John Ramage gave us daily updates on their way to a gold medal in Fargo, North Dakota. Three seasons ago former recruit Nick Pryor did the same from Russia.

After a standout freshman season at Eau Claire Memorial high school, McCabe made the move to Ann Arbor to join the National Team Development Program. Currently a member of the U18 NTDP squad, McCabe has been a top defenseman for that club since returning from injury earlier in the season.

Over the past two years McCabe has been accelerating his studies to graduate high school in three years so he can join the Badgers next fall. Current Wisconsin freshman Michael Mersch, another graduate of the NTDP program in Ann Arbor did the same.

Team USA is expected to go overseas about a week before the tournament is set to begin so Jake may begin giving updates as soon as April 6th so continue to check here often for what's going on with the best under 18 players our great country has to offer.

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Has Eaves Turned UW Into NHL-University?

I've been joking around with the term NHL-University in reference to Wisconsin for a while now, using it as a thread title on the USCHO boards, and using it as a twitter hash tag whenever a former Badger has a big night in the NHL. But is the term really that far from the truth?

This season alone, 20 former Badgers have played in the National Hockey League, including 17 who are currently on an NHL roster. Think about that for a second, only 20 players suit up for an NHL roster per night. The Badgers could have their own NHL team this season. As always, don't forget to check BetUS’ hockey lines, the #1 place online for all your NHL wagering needs.

Obviously other NCAA squads have been putting people in the NHL but the run that Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves and the Badgers are on is nothing short of impressive. Fifteen of those twenty players in the NHL this season played for Mike Eaves at Wisconsin. Off last seasons roster alone, Wisconsin has put three players into the show who have made significant contributions.

Derek Stepan out of Hastings, Minnesota shocked many when he decided to sign with the New York Rangers this summer after his sophomore season in Madison. Checking out the rookie leaders on NHL.com, the young forward has put himself in the discussion for rookie of the year with his 41 points in 77 games which is good for sixth in the NHL amongst all rookies.

Getting the call to the NHL after half a season in the American League, Ryan McDonagh has had a seamless transition to the big apple. The Rangers rookie blueliner is playing in a top 4 role and is an amazing +17 in only 35 games this season.

The third player off last seasons Badger squad who has drawn attention in the NHL this season has been Blake Geoffrion. The 2010 Hobey Baker Award winner has 6 goals and 7 points in just 15 games for Nashville this season.

But those three aren't the only players that have played on the worlds biggest stage after studying with Mike Eaves in Madison. Guys like Joe Pavelski, Ryan Suter, Tom Gilbert, and Rene Bourque have all become stars in the NHL after their careers in Madison. Young guys like Jamie McBain, Kyle Turris, and Jack Skille all possess the ability to join the previous four I mentioned in that star class.

But it's not just the stars that Eaves is developing in Mad-Town. He's taught guys like Adam Burrish, Jake Dowell, Davis Drewiske, and to a lesser extent Brian Elliott and Robbie Earl what it takes to make it at the NHL level without All-World ability.

The next wave of Wisconsin NHL stars is on the horizon. Jake Gardiner, who just signed an NHL contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs should see time in the NHL next season. Same goes for guys like Brendan Smith (Detroit) and Cody Goloubef (Columbus) who are both knocking on the NHL doorstep.

The talent doesn't end there, Justin Schultz and Craig Smith who are both expected back for the Badgers next season both have the NHL in their futures. Numerous other players on the current roster also will have an opportunity at some time to play in the show.

The pipeline isn't bare either. Incoming freshman forward Joseph LaBate is expected to be a second round pick in the upcoming NHL draft this spring and incoming freshman defenseman Jake McCabe (who isn't eligible until the 2012 draft) is also looked at as a top 4 round kid. Additionally NTDP forward and 2012 recruit Nicolas Kerdiles and Salmon Arm (BCHL) forward Morgan Zulinick are expected to be top prospects for the 2012 draft.

So while other schools are taking criticism for their ability (or lack there of) to develop players these days, don't forget what Mike Eaves is doing for the Badgers.

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Kerdiles, McCabe Named To USA U-18 World Championship Roster

Wednesday afternoon USA Hockey released the official roster that will represent the United States for the 2011 U-18 World Championships that will take place in Germany April 14-24th.

A pair of future Badgers were selected to represent the red, white, and blue overseas as they look to win their third straight gold medal in the event.

Jake McCabe (pictured, far left), a 2011 Wisconsin defense recruit was no surprise to make the roster. McCabe, who has been accelerating his studies to graduate early and enroll at Madison in the fall has been a regular top 4 defenseman for the NTDP U-18 squad since returning from a back injury that kept him out the first month or two of the season. The Eau Claire, Wisconsin native has 15 points (4 goals, 11 assists) this season in 38 games for the NTDP this season.

Nicolas Kerdiles, a 2012 forward recruit was more of a surprise to make the roster. Kerdiles has spent the majority of this season playing with the NTDP U-17 squad where he has 27 points (17 goals, 10 assists) in 40 games. Kerdiles was promoted to the U-18 squad mid-season and continued to score with 8 points in 12 games. But the Irvine, California native was sent back down to the U-17 squad for the past month and his invite to the U-18 World Championships was up in the air. Kerdiles handled the demotion well and played well since returning to the U-17's, well enough to get invited to Germany.

Update: Here is what United States of Hockey writer Chris Peters had to say about Kerdiles being included on the roster-"Kerdiles is an interesting pick for this team. He actually got called up to the U18s in late January and earned a spot at the U18 Five Nations Cup and performed admirably. However, he was sent back to the U17s. Instead of pouting, all Kerdiles did was up his game. In his last four games with the U17s, he posted five points against USHL competition. Sure enough, he was called back for this tournament and will play as one of four under-agers on the U.S. roster. Kerdiles has great size and strength for a kid his age. His offensive talent is there and he can skate. His style of game lends itself well to the U.S. team."

Team USA will play two exhibition games in Dresden, Germany against Canada and Finland before starting the tournament on April 14th in Crimmitschau, Germany vs. Switzerland. All games will be streamed live by FastHockey.com for a fee.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Reaction to Coach Eaves and Alvarez's Comments

Lord knows that I've never been afraid to call out Barry Alvarez or otherwise claim that he's the puppet-master trying to mess with hockey for his own amusement. Sometimes I've done so fairly. Sometimes quite unreasonably and childishly. And sometimes to portray him as the Frankenstein about to turn the freshly deceased College Hockey Showcase into the lumbering reanimated undead corpse that we will soon call the Big Ten Hockey Conference.

The bottom line with Barry is the bottom line. He's the athletic director at our school, and if he wants to make his first priority to be to make sure that UW still manages to have an athletic department that stays in the black, then I don't know that any of us can really argue with that.

And if you were to get in touch with the cold, hard capitalist inside of you, it would only be fair to ask if it really is UWs job to prop up the smaller schools, or if it is Michigan's job to do the same to the CCHA schools. If the BTHC ends up destroying a program like Bowling Green, Minnesota State or Lake Superior State... well... who's to say that they were on stable enough grounds to last anyway? It's a harsh question, and it does divert our attention away from what a landscape-changer the BTHC will be, but isn't that a fair question to ask?

But even with that in mind, there are some things Barry says that probably reinforce the image many non-UW people have of Barry The Dictator Who Hates Hockey And Wants To Anally Rape It Whilst Pouring Sugar In Its Gas Tank.

Looking at his comments from the On Wisconsin show with Brian Posick, I end up with more questions than answers:

  • When you say that our fans will "recognize" teams like Ohio State and Penn State in hockey... are you aware that we don't have a rivalry with one and that the other doesn't exist yet?
  • When you say that "our fans" will choose that over WCHA rivals like Denver and North Dakota, are you talking about Badger Hockey fans or Badger Football fans?
  • What exactly do you mean by "regionalizing" hockey? You said it to Posick and to Baggot. Did you know that it's roughly the same amount of time to drive to Denver as it is to Happy Valley? That drives to Ann Arbor and Grand Forks are quite comparable? That its quicker to drive to Bemidji or Omaha than it is to go to Columbus?
  • The only travel distance that exists in the WCHA and not in the B1G Ten is Anchorage, Alaska, and UAA pays for part/most of that PLUS we get two extra home games out of that deal. Is that really an issue for us?
  • Let's assume that your comments about "regionalization" have more to do with college hockey as a whole. How does the BTHC help the WCHA and CCHA schools deal with it? Don't they now have more frequent trips to Colorado and Alaska? How are we helping them, if this is truly a move that is good for "all of college hockey"?
Honestly, I feel like Alvarez is just giving us the run around when he tries to explain how this is good for college hockey as a whole. I'm not buying this trumped up excuse that the travel budget is better off in the BTHC, and I don't believe a word that he's saying about "regionalization". Sure, his principle is correct: bus rides are cheaper than flights, but that doesn't really come into play when we start talking WCHA vs. Big Ten. He's better off being honest with us and just saying that its about money, because at least I can believe him when he says that.

When Alvarez talks about B1G Ten rivalries, I don't think he's talking about hockey at all. He's talking about the kind of fan who doesn't go to hockey games, specifically the kind of ignorant fool that would list the WCHA as the reason he doesn't go to hockey games. (How do you spot this person? They might think that Ohio State hockey is more important and relevant than Denver hockey)

To this end, I have to admit that Alvarez is most likely right: there are probably more people that will come to Badger hockey games because it's a Big Ten thing than there are hockey fans who will stop coming to games because they hate this move. In that regard, we might see even better attendance figures in the B1G Ten. Sure, that's speculative drivel, but it wouldn't surprise me.

And then there's this:

"Plus the BTN has committed to about 40 games right off the bat. so i think that it sells and it promotes college hockey and maybe educates a lot of people in areas where there isn't hockey about college hockey"


It is here that I can't argue with the man. For a network that once pre-empted a Minnesota-Wisconsin game with a press conference for Indiana basketball, the BTN is showing a commitment to put more eggs into hockey's basket. That specific element of the BTHC can do nothing but good for college hockey. No one should be complaining about being on TV more.

As for Mike Eaves' comments on the issue? I was mostly amused by them. Mike Eaves has that weird way about him where he just sort of rambles on and on. I still have no idea what he meant by "speak the same language". You can tell that he never rehearses what he's going to say, and even though it makes his comments harder to understand and not very well thought out, I like how honest he comes off when he does it. If you boil down the rambling to two thoughts, it's this: This was inevitable, and we really don't have any idea how this will turn out.

For all the questions that Barry Alvarez makes me wonder about, perhaps Coach Eaves is right. It's going to happen, we can't change it, and we can't possibly predict what will happen.

But it's not too early for us to lobby the Big Ten to make sure that they don't do shootouts, right?

Some BTHC Talk (and more) From Coach Eaves and Barry Alvarez

For those of you who live in Madison, the On Wisconsin radio show/podcast featuring Brian "The Voice of Badger Hockey" Posick from The Big 1070 (Madison) might be a major part of your sports radio experience*.

Last Wednesday's edition of On Wisconsin featured some quality discussion about the two biggest stories to strike Badger Hockey in the last few weeks: the Big Ten Hockey Conference and the Lady Badgers' newest title. Coach Mike Eaves and Athletic Director Barry Alvarez both had some chances to comment on those stories.

* Disclaimer: OR if you live in the suburbs of Milwaukee, have a normal 9-5 type job, and are an amateur blogger (in more ways than one), then you might find out about Coach Eaves and Alvarez's comments when you ask someone from the athletic department if they have made any formal statements about the BTHC, and he kindly respond to you with an e-mail linking to this podcast...

The link to the audio is here, you can also access the podcast for download here.

A general timeline for those who want to skim the podcast:

00:56-2:32 Brian Posick mentions the women's hockey title.
2:46 - 3:17 BP introduces the BTHC news
3:17 - 5:43 Coach Eaves' comments on the BTHC
18:03 BP's interview with Barry Alvarez begins
19:33 - 22:05 They discuss the women's hockey team, Megan Duggan, and Coach Johnson
22:06 - 24:18 They discuss the BTHC
26:02 - 28:26 The issue of the facility improvements at Camp Randall

Now, I'm a total hack of a journalist (you know... because I'm not one and this is an occasional hobby for me), but here's my lame-duck attempt at transcribing the comments:

Mike Eaves on the BTHC:

"In the first place, Brian, it needs to be said there's a lot of work to be done. This is just the first step ... getting the presidents and the ADs to get on board and back this. This thought process is real powerful. And I think that... in lieu of the BTN going into effect... it was just a matter of time before this type of thing happened.

"In my mind, a lot of things in our society are driven by dollars and cents and this is one of those things. The Big Ten, once they got up and running and the money they are providing to each institution... the Big Ten is big time bucks. And once they got football and basketball going, the next revenue or income sport is hockey, men's ice hockey. And I think it was just a matter of time before they were looking to get them on there. And with that being the case right now, and Penn State getting finances to get the men's and women's program there, this was a natural progression in my mind, it was just a matter of time.

"The positives of it I think are the fact that you are going to create an unbelievable conference in men's ice hockey. It's going to be on TV. People, if they want to watch college hockey, are going to know where to go to watch it on a regular basis so i think that exposure to college hockey will be tremendous. I think that will be a great thing.

"I think the conference itself, having at our league meetings everybody speaking the same language in terms of what their needs are, and the things they have to deal with i think will be very much a positive because we all speak the same language.

"The negatives... you know, people can speculate as to what some of those might be, they could say that its either going to hurt college hockey and that we're gonna lose some programs, or because of the stimulation of what's going could create some programs. So i only think that time will tell if that's going to become an issue and *laughs* time will tell what other positives and what other negatives are going to come up."


Barry Alvarez on Mark Johnson:

"Well Mark, what a... just a tremendous leader he is. Just the way he manages his team, how he builds the team. And how... you know, he's so consistent. And that's the thing I see about him. His players know exactly what he wants. He's never too high, never too low. The consistency that he shows and the great job that he does teaching and building a team is very impressive"


Barry on Meghan Duggan:

"There are certain people that have a presence, and she's one of them. She walks into a room, and she has a presence. She steps on the ice, she has a presence. Every great team has a leader, someone just like her. And you can just sense that and you can feel that. When she speaks... you can look at the people in the crowd last night and everyone listened to her and every one of her teammates that spoke mentioned her by name. And [she's a] very impressive lady"


Barry after Brian Posick noted that some places, like Penn State for their men's program, might be interested in Coach Johnson:

"Absolutely. You've got the best women's coach in the country. What he's accomplished speaks for itself. You certainly don't want to lose him. But anytime you have a successful coach, there are always people that are looking at him, you know, and people that will try to get them to move and come and run their program. that's part of the business that we're in."


Barry when asked if he thinks Coach Johnson could have the same level of success in men's hockey:

"You know Brian, I'm not a hockey guy. But I mean... I'm sure the fundamentals... he coached men's hockey before he took over the head job at the women's program." (BP: "Assistant with Jeff Sauer, yeah...") "Absolutely. And I don't see why he wouldn't be successful."


Barry on the BTHC:

"I think everyone looks at their own situation. Everyone is concerned about their own situation. I think for a number of years now, people have been concerned by us having a league it will hurt college hockey. I don't agree with that.

"I think hockey needs to be regionalized. Hockey is a very expensive sport, and when you're traveling, criss-crossing the country playing your schedule, it gets more expensive and it limits how many people can play. You take a look at the east coast schools, it's basically a bus league, they can bus to everything they don't have to fly so its less expensive.

"What the Big Ten will do for our fans... it's name recognition now. You're playing teams that you recognize. You're more aware of a Michigan, Ohio State, you have a built in tradition and rivalry already. Plus the BTN has committed to about 40 games right off the bat. so i think that it sells and it promotes college hockey and maybe educates a lot of people in areas where there isn't hockey about college hockey"


(Brian Posick: And, no disrespect to other schools in the WCHA or the CCHA, but it also, these six schools in the Big Ten, it puts them on the same academic standing as the other schools. There's no doubt that theres a disparity in the WCHA.)

Barry Alvarez's response:

"There's no question.. You're dealing with DIII schools in some cases and some DI schools and standards are a little bit different, what you're accustomed to is a little bit different, I sensed that in the meetings that i've gone to that its much different than sitting in a Big Ten meeting."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Night Notes: Recruit Lapic Injured

-There's been some questions about 2011 recruit Tyler Lapic (pictured) and why he's been out of the lineup lately. Lapic played this season with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League.

I was able to speak with Lapic tonight and he informed me that he's injured his wrist and is currently in a cast. With only a few weeks left in the USHL season, Lapic will not return to the Steel. He didn't make it seem too serious, and told me he will begin rehab on the wrist shortly. I see no reason for him not to be 100% for next season.

-One thing I wanted to note with the site re-design. If you click on the NHL jerseys on the top banner (which I think is pretty cool) it links you to the website I've set up to track the stats of all former Badgers who are playing pro hockey. Currently there are 45 Badgers playing pro hockey. 17 in the NHL, 14 in the AHL, 6 in the ECHL, and 8 in Europe.

-On the potential recruiting side of things, Sun Prarie native and Madison Capitols defenseman Will Butcher has accepted an invitation to play for the USA National Team Development Program for next season. I've been touting Butcher as the top 1995 born defenseman in the country and his early invite and acceptance to the NTDP does nothing to prove that theory wrong. Butcher should be the Badgers #1 target for the class of 2013.

-Kirk Daubenspeck has been released from the hospital which is outstanding news. Kirk still has a lot of recovery and rehab left but it's great to see that he's progressed to the point where he can go home.

-I wanted to express my congratulations to North Dakota, Minnesota-Duluth, Michigan, and Notre Dame on making it to St. Paul for the Frozen Four next week. All four teams had outstanding seasons and It's nice to see that the title will be brought back West again this season.

-11 players have already decided to leave college hockey early for the pro ranks. Last season 36 underclassmen left early and only 4 saw significant time in the NHL this season. Badgers Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan were two of the four.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Live Blogging the Regionals

Today's Regional Games:

12:30 (CST): Midwest Regional Semi - 1 North Dakota vs 4 RPI (ESPN3.com)
___Final: UND 6 - RPI 0

3:00: Northeast Regional Semi - 1 Miami vs 4 New Hampshire (ESPNU)
___Final: UNH 3 - Mia 1

4:00: Midwest Regional Semi - 2 Denver vs 3 Western Michigan (ESPN3.com)
___Final: DU 3 - WMU 2 (2 OT)

5:30: East Regional Final - 1 Yale vs 3 Minnesota-Duluth (ESPNU)
___Final: UMD 5 - Yale 3

6:30: Northeast Regional Semi - 2 Merrimack vs 3 Notre Dame (ESPN3.com)
___Final: ND 4 - MC 3 (OT)

8:00: West Regional Final - 2 Michigan vs 4 Colorado College (ESPNU)
___Final: UM 2 - CC 1

Friday, March 25, 2011

60 Minutes got a face lift

As many of you may have noticed, the blog is looking a bit different today. A few days ago, I started work on a new 'look' for 60 minutes, and after much consultation from Chuck, Tex, and others, this is the result. I do hope you all like it!

However, as with all coding projects, there is always a chance I may have missed something, and, as a result, the site may not be looking quite right in your browser. I have tested the new look in Internet Explorer 8 and 9, Firefox 3 and 4, Safari, Chrome, and Opera, and nothing stood out to me as wrong or funny looking during those tests. But if you do see something please let me know by leaving a comment on this post. Be sure to note what web browser you are using and what version it is, and I will try to correct any glitches as soon as possible.

Other than that, I hope you like the new look, happy reading, and On Wisconsin!

The Wisconsin Channel to Air UW Women’s Hockey Winning NCAA Championship Game Sunday

The Wisconsin Channel, a digital TV channel from Wisconsin Public Television (WPT), will offer an exclusive broadcast of the recent victory by the University of Wisconsin-Madison women's hockey team that gained them the NCAA national championship with a 4-1 win over Boston University. Live coverage of the March 20 match against Boston University was available live only on the Web.

The game will air at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 29. An encore broadcast, also on The Wisconsin Channel, will air at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 3.

This is the fourth time the Badgers have won the national championship in the past six years. They ended the season with a 37-2-2 record. Meghan Duggan and Hilary Knight were named Frozen Four Co-MVPs and Duggan received the 2011 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s hockey.

WPT is a service of the Educational Communications Board and the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Wisconsin Public Television is a place to grow through learning on WHA-TV, Madison; WPNE-TV, Green Bay; WHRM-TV, Wausau; WLEF-TV, Park Falls; WHLA-TV, La Crosse; and WHWC-TV, Menomonie-Eau Claire.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Playing Catch Up: Tuesday Afternoon Links

-Obviously one of the biggest driving factors for the new Big Ten Hockey Conference is the television rights with the Big Ten Network. In an Associated Press Article Barry Alvarez is quoted as saying the Big Ten Network has committed to broadcasting at least 40 hockey games a season.

Barring special events or Calvin Sampson getting fired from Indiana during a Wisconsin/Minnesota game, virtually every Friday and Saturday night during the hockey season should have a game on the Big Ten Network. Big Ten Basketball never plays on Friday night and if they play on Saturday play during the day. Same with Football.

-Wisconsin senior captain Sean Dolan will be continuing his hockey career as a professional. Dolan has signed with the South Carolina Stingrays of the East Coast Hockey League. Dolan is expected to be in uniform tonight as South Carolina hosts Greenville.

-According to @ACHAInsider, Penn State is bringing in about ten kids between the EJHL, NAHL, and USHL next year. Penn State will still be a club program next year but this will be a good start to the transition of going D-1 as you don't want to start with 26 freshmen on your roster.

-Apparently Jamie McBain is having a good time down in Carolina. A restaurant down there has let him design his own sub called the McBainwich. The Hurricanes rookie defenseman has 25 points in 68 games this season. Carolina is currently in 9th place in the Eastern Conference, just 3 points outside the final playoff spot.

-I started collecting articles that people had written about their thoughts on the Big 10 hockey conference but after I got to like 10 plus I just said screw it. If you want to look for writers opinions on it, it's not hard. Edit: Shane Frederick from the Mankato Free Press does a really nice job running down important links here on the subject.

-Joe Pavelski has absolutely been on fire in the past week. The Polish Prince was recently named as one of the NHL three stars of the week by the league. Pav's put up 11 points in 4 games last week including one game where he recorded 4 assists. Pavelski is only two points shy of his career high point total.

-2010 Hobey Baker winner Blake Geoffrion had a big week as well. The former Badger registered his first NHL hat-trick on Sunday including two goals in the final 2:33 to push the game to overtime where the Predators pulled out the victory.

Scott Cullen from TSN wrote about Geoffrions performance since his call up noting that not only does Blake have 6 goals in 11 games but that he's done so playing only 8 minutes a game which is almost unfathomable.

-Jake Gardiner made his professional debut on Friday night for the Toronto Marlies of the AHL wearing #2. Gardiner did not record a point in the 1-0 loss at Syracuse, he was even, and had one shot on goal. Former Badgers Josh Engel (Toronto), and John Mitchell (Syracuse) also played in the contest.

-The Wisconsin athletic communications staff has put together a campaign for Justin Schultz and his Hobey Baker bid. Here's a link to a site that features video, stats, photo's, bio, etc.

Schultz Named Hobey Baker Top 10 Finalist

Editors Note: Apologize for being behind but I'm still playing catch up from the Final Five.

As one should after putting up a 47 point season playing defense, Wisconsin sophomore defenseman Justin Schultz has been named as a top 10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as named by the Hobey Baker committee last Thursday.

Already named as a First Team All-WCHA performer as well as the WCHA Defensive player of the year, Schultz now has Hobey Finalist to add to his already impressive resume. The West Kelowna, British Columbia native led all defensemen in scoring by 7 points. Schultz's 18 goals this season are the most for a defenseman in NCAA hockey since 2002-2003.

Schultz becomes the fourth Badger to be a top 10 Hobey Baker finalist in the past 3 seasons. In 2009, current Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jamie McBain was a finalist and last season Nashville Predators forward Blake Geoffrion and Detroit Redwings prospect Brendan Smith made the final 10. Geoffrion went on to win the award, becoming the first player in Wisconsin history to do so.

Besides Schultz, Matt Frattin from the University of North Dakota and Jack Connolly from the University of Minnesota Duluth were other members of the WCHA who were named finalists. The other seven were Cam Atkinson from Boston College, Carter Camper and Andy Meile from Miami, Gustav Nyquist from Maine, Chase Polacek from RPI, Paul Thompson from the University of New Hampshire and Niagara's Paul Zanette.

Wisconsin Top 10 Hobey Baker Finalists:
2011-Justin Schultz-Defense
2010-Blake Geoffrion-Forward (Won)
2010-Brendan Smith-Defense
2009-Jamie McBaine-Defense
2006-Brian Elliott-Goaltender
2001-Dany Heatley-Forward
2000-Steven Reinprecht-Forward
1992-Duane Durksen-Goaltender
1988-Paul Ranheim-Forward
1988-Tony Granato-Forward



Teach Me How To Duggan

Since the Mark Johnson took over the Wisconsin Women's hockey program in 2002 he's done two things. Win National Championships, and produce Patty Kazmaier Award winners. Johnson wrapped up his fourth NCAA Title behind the Wisconsin bench on Sunday. The day before, Wisconsin senior captain Meghan Duggan was named the 2011 Patty Kaz winner, the third Badger to win the award under Johnson's watch.

For those not familiar with the women's game, the Patty Kazmaier is awarded to the top player in women's college hockey. Similar to the Hobey Baker that is given to the men.

Duggan joins Sara Bauer (2006) and Jessie Vetter (2009) as players to win the award while playing for the Badgers. Every season that a Wisconsin player has won the award, the Badgers have gone on to win the NCAA title.

Speaking emotionally about his senior captain, head coach Mark Johnson wasn't shy in reaping praise, "Meghan is probably the best two-way player, not only in the country, but in the world," said Mark Johnson, head coach at the University of Wisconsin. "One of the reasons we're in the position we're in right now is because of her leadership and what she does on the ice, and probably more importantly, what she does off the ice."

Duggan, who led the entire country in scoring with 87 points in 41 games won the award over fellow senior nominees Kelli Stack from Boston College and Meghan Agosta of Mercyhurst.

Photograph Credit: Brent Stoutamyer

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Pictures From Erie

Enjoy a smattering of pictures I took while at the 2011 Women's Frozen Four this weekend, helping to cheer on the Badger women to their fourth NCAA National Championship.

Looking for a team to cheer for in the NCAA tournament?

Watch this video. If you get to the end and you don't want Western Michigan to win the NCAA tournament then I'm not sure you're human. Western is playing in the Green Bay regional this weekend. If you're looking for someone to root for, here you go.



Watching the video reminded me of this picture that a fellow Wisconsin fan had posted on the USCHO message boards in January. His niece who is in this picture had been injured in a car crash.

Wisconsin captain Sean Dolan (#16) and Mark Zengerle (#9) visited her in the hospital. I'm certain that the rest of the hockey team has made trips to the UW hospital as well. It's been well documented on ESPN and other outlets the relationship that the football team has there. I think it's a safe assumption that most Wisconsin athletes, at one time or another have made a difference while visiting sick or injured children.

Watching the Western video and seeing this this picture makes you take a step back and realize that at the end of the day college athletics isn't all about wins and losses.

Men's Hockey Recommended As Official Big Ten Sport

It should come as no shock to anyone that follows this blog and college hockey fairly close that the Big Ten Hockey Conference is happening. Today it was announced that Men's Ice Hockey is going to be recommended to the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors the establishment of Men's ice hockey as an official conference sport starting in the 2013-2014 season.

According to the release, the directors of athletics from all six schools that currently (or will shortly) sponsor Men's ice hockey voted unanimously for the creation of the conference. The release also states that the new conference will hold a conference tournament to determine the conferences auto bid for the NCAA tournament (format and location to be determined) and each school will play a 20 game conference schedule playing each team in the league twice at home and twice on the road.

Along with conference games against Michigan, Ohio State, Minnesota, Michigan State, and Penn State, Wisconsin will be allowed to schedule around fourteen non conference games every season and sometimes more depending on exceptions that the NCAA allows for certain tournaments, locations, and games.

One of the core complaints about the new conference is the loss of games against traditional WCHA rivals like North Dakota, Denver, Colorado College, etc. The release notes that, "In addition, the Big Ten's men's ice hockey programs will continue to proactively work to maintain a strong schedule of non-conference competition with the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA)."

As recently as last week WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod stated that "It has been having conversations with Minnesota and Wisconsin regarding an ongoing scheduling relationship between the schools and the rest of the WCHA."

Since the announcement less than an hour ago, no statements have been given from anyone in the Wisconsin camp but in a release from Minnesota, Gopher head coach Don Lucia mentioned the possibility of maintaining established rivalries, "Right now we enjoy playing in the WCHA and will work with the league and WCHA schools to maintain established and traditional rivalries to ensure a competitive and entertaining non-conference schedule."

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

D-Y-N-A-S-T-Y
























Photograph Credit: Brent Stoutamyer

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Jamie Russell out at Michigan Tech

After 8 seasons behind the bench at his alma mater Michigan Tech, Jamie Russell has stepped down. The news was first reported by Grand Forks Herald beat writer Brad Elliott Schlossman that Russell was out at Tech. Shortly after Jess R Meyers noted that Russell had stepped down.

Russell never really got it going at Tech. His best season, in '06-'07 he was only one game over .500 and finished with a career record of 70-197-37, well short of expectations from when he took over the program.

The Kamloops, BC native had some interesting comments in the press release sent out from the school. "I want to thank all the people in the community who were so loyal to the Huskies -- through the good times and through the tougher times when we faced numerous injuries and the loss of some outstanding new recruits who were not to able to make it all the way to Tech ice. My family and I have enjoyed being a part of this community and will be saddened to leave, but look forward to the adventures ahead."

Russell is obviously talking about Casey Pierro Zabotel and Jake Hauswirth, two solid recruits who never made it to Tech. CPZ couldn't pass the NCAA clearinghouse and Hauswirth signed a free agent contract with the Washington Capitols after tearing up their summer rookie camp. Ironically both Hauswirth and Casey Pierro Zabotel are currently in the ECHL with the Cincinnati Cyclones.

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Fan Events at Women's Frozen Four

From UWBadgers.com

MADISON, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin athletic department is pleased to announce several fan events in conjunction with the Badgers' appearance at the 2011 NCAA Women's Hockey Frozen Four in Erie, Pa.

This Thursday, all Badger fans in Erie are invited to Quaker Steak & Lube for a Wisconsin Men's Basketball NCAA watch party at 7 p.m. (ET). Free t-shirts will be available to fans while supplies last, courtesy of the Big Ten Network. Fans will receive free Bucky hats and Badger accessories.

On Friday, Badger fans are invited to the Courtyard by Marriott entrance lobby at 2:30 p.m. (ET) to send the team off before its game against Boston College. Free Badger gear will be available while supplies last to fans in attendance.

If the team advances to Sunday's championship game, Badger fans are invited to join members of the UW Band and Bucky Badger in the entrance lobby of the Courtyard by Marriott at 11:30 a.m. (ET) for a second team send-off in true Wisconsin style.

Following the championship game, please join the Wisconsin women's hockey team at Plymouth Tavern. The team looks forward to celebrating its NCAA Frozen Four appearance with Badger fans in Erie! Plymouth Tavern is located at 1109 State Street, three blocks from Tullio Arena.

Click for map of Badger fan events in Erie, PA. (PDF)
Click for NCAA Women's Frozen Four Tickets

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Big Ten announcement as early as Monday

Todd Milewski (who I miss dearly covering Badger hockey) is the executive editor at USCHO and he has an update on the Big Ten hockey conference today stating that an announcement on the future conference home of the Badgers could come as soon as Monday.

At this point it's all but a certainty that Big Ten schools Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State will be joining up with start up program Penn State for the 2013 to form their own conference.

I would expect the announcement to include information not only about the start of the conference but what they plan to do for the conference tournament. The most logical thing to do in my opinion would be to have a conference tournament in Chicago will all six teams. Top two seeds get a bye.

It will be interesting also to note if they announce scheduling agreements with the WCHA and CCHA. The biggest argument against the formation of the conference is that some of the smaller programs may not survive without gate revenue from when these Big Ten schools come to town. The USCHO article mentions that WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod has had active talks with Wisconsin and Minnesota "regarding an ongoing scheduling relationship between the schools and the rest of the WCHA."

At this point it makes no sense to complain about the negatives about the Big Ten Hockey Conference because it's going to happen. There are multiple positives for the Wisconsin hockey program when it comes to the new conference. The most obvious being a television agreement with the Big10 Network which will generate more money for the program and will expose the program to more recruits. The TV deal will also be a selling point for recruits who's parents may not be able to make every trip to see them.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Way Too Early 2011 Lineup Guesses

Jordy Murray-Craig Smith-Derek Lee
Michael Mersch-Mark Zengerle-Tyler Barnes
Joseph LaBate-Jefferson Dahl-Jason Clark
Ryan Little-Keegan Meuer-Gavin Hartzog
-----------------------------------------------
Sean Little-Matt Paape-Brendan Woods
Tyler Lapic

Justin Schultz-Frankie Simonelli
Jake McCabe-John Ramage
Joe Faust-Eric Springer
-----------------------------------------------
Chase Drake-Patrick Daly

Joel Rumpel
Mitch Thompson

Initial thoughts: Craig Smith is still your #1 center and pair him up with veteran Jordy Murray again that's a no brainer in my book. Due to a lack of true centers on the roster you move Mark Zengerele back to his natrual position of center on the second unit and hopefully generate more scoring down the roster next season. I initially had Mersch up with Smith and Murray but I like the way Lee played down the stretch and I think he's a little quicker and should be a better fit with those two.

Dahl gets an expanded role on the third unit but has some inexperienced wings in freshman LaBate and sophomore Jason Clark. Fourth line will be fairly deep this year as R. Little, Meuer, and Hartzog all saw minutes this season. S. Little, Paape, Woods, and Lapic should all see some time here as well.

Defensively I think you've got a pretty clear cut top 6. You could slice the pairings a few different ways but this is what I liked.

Feel free to post your thoughts.

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WCHA Departures Continue

As expected the hits keep coming for the WCHA. As already acknowledged on this site, Jake Gardiner (Wisconsin), and Aaron Ness (Minnesota) have both decided to leave school after their junior seasons. St. Cloud State is the latest victim.

Oliver Lauridsen (pictured), a defenseman for the Huskies has signed a pro contract with the Philadelphia Flyers. The Junior defenseman was a seventh round selection by the Flyers in the 2009 NHL Draft. According to multiple media outlets, the junior defenseman is expected to join the Flyers AHL club in Adirondack immediately and could play as soon as Wednesday.

The 6'6 Lauridsen has made major strides for the Huskies in his three seasons. As a top pairing defenseman for the SCSU this season Lauridsen was second on the club in plus minus checking in at +7 for the season and +9 for his career.

The Huskies return 5 defensemen off this seasons roster including thee key players in Nick Jensen, Kevin Gravel, and Taylor Johnson. Next season the Huskies are expected to bring in Andrew Proncho (Sioux Falls, USHL), Timothy Daly (Langley, BCHL), Ethan Prow (Des Moines, USHL), and Markus Lauridsen (Green Bay, USHL) who is also Olivers younger brother.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Jake Gardiner Signs With Toronto

Looks like we aren't going to have to play the waiting game in terms of early departures this season. Michael Russo from the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweeted tonight that according to sources, the Toronto Maple Leafs have signed Wisconsin junior defenseman Jake Gardiner to an entry level contract.

Gardiner, who hails from Minnetonka, Minnesota was originally a first round draft selection of the Anaheim Ducks. A recent trade at the NHL trade deadline saw his rights exchanged from the Ducks to the Leafs.

Gardiner has had an impressive career at Wisconsin and was named a second team All-WCHA performer this past season when he registered 40 points in 41 games for the Badgers. His 40 points this season were third in the country for defensemen. For his career at Wisconsin, Gardiner finished with 74 points.

After an offseason that saw the Badgers lose four underclassmen to NHL contracts including three defenseman, Gardiner is the only expected departure this summer. Sophomore defenseman Justin Schultz has told the media that he is 100% coming back and sophomore forward Craig Smith looks to be coming back as well.

No word on where Gardiner will start his professional career yet but it's more than a safe bet that he will finish the rest of the season with the Maple Leafs's AHL team the Marlies, who are also based in Toronto. The Marlies are in second place in the North Division. Their next game is on Friday vs the Syracuse Crunch. Former Wisconsin defenseman Josh Engel is also currently a member of the Marlies.

Congratulations on a fine career at Wisconsin Jake. Hope to see you in the NHL soon. You will be missed.

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On to Lake Erie: Women Advance to Frozen Four

The Men’s season might be done, but the Women’s season still has much to cheer about.

On Saturday evening, in front of several thousand Badgers fans, the UW Women advanced to their 5th Frozen Four in the past six seasons with a 2-1 victory over the Duluth Foreign Legion (DFL). Overall, it was one hell of a good hockey game, even though there was no checking!

The first period was pretty even and the Badgers failed to capitalize on a few nice chances. The DFL was able to change the scoreboard first, w/ a goal late in the period. It came after a penalty ended for the Badgers and was one of those cases where they struggled to clear the puck and you just knew something bad was going to happen.

There was a lot of nervous tension in some of my friends heading into the second period. In case you weren’t aware, the DFL was the last team to beat the Badgers this season, way back in November 2010, and after the NCAA Committee decided that earning the #1 overall seed meant nothing, fans knew the DFL would be a tough out. Instead of getting Dartmouth the actual #8 seed, the Badgers were handed their old rival and defending NCAA champions.

The momentum quickly shifted back to the Badgers in the 2nd period, early on their second PP, Hilary Knight launched a shot from the point, which made it through traffic and past DFL goalie Comrade Kim Martin. Credit the players screening the goalie. Mark Johnson also shifted his lines late in the 1st or early in the 2nd, and put all three Patty Kaz finalists together, creating a dominate line of Knight, Meghan Duggan and Briana Decker. Those three created a lot of nice chances the rest of the game and were complimented well by the 2nd and 3rd lines which overall, the DFL worked hard to keep up with.

The Badgers controlled play through the 2nd and into the 3rd period, when 7:34 in Decker to Knight to Duggan for what would eventually be the game winner. The DFL mounted a late attack and pulled their sieve, but it was too little too late. The Badger Women cleaned up the defensive lapses they were having two weeks back in Verona, Alex Rigsby continues to play well in net, and while the score sheet doesn’t show it, forwards like Madison Packer, Mallory Deluce and Carolyne Prevost had great efforts.

One other event to point out, in the third period after a pileup in front of the DFL net, Comrade Jocelyne Larocque grabbed Knight’s facemask and ripped her helmet off. Not only did Comrade Larocque not get ejected, there wasn’t a single penalty called. I haven’t seen such a bogus officiating job since Randy Schmidt didn’t know how to run a video review at Magness arena costing Matt Ford a tying goal as time expired against Denver in 2008. Unacceptable.

Regardless, the Badger Women are headed back to the Frozen Four. There are A LOT of new faces since their last trip in 2009 where they blew out Mercyhurst, but some of the key kogs to that team are still around and I expect nothing less than #4 being brought home next Sunday. I’m bold enough to say that the Badgers might have faced their toughest game in the quarterfinals. The east coast teams might have nice records, but nothing compares to the top end of the WCHA, and UW is the best of the best. BC, BU and Cornell better be ready to get beat down in Lake Erie, because Duggan/Decker/Knight are ready for the big show.

Besides the games, Meghan Duggan should be in line to become the school’s third Patty Kaz, national player of the year, winner! She certainly has the resume. I won’t lie, I’m a little confused how Kelly Stack was a hat trick finalist instead of Hilary Knight. Knight has 9 more goals than the next closest player in NCAA hockey, and 20 more points than Stack. I know I’m biased on this one, but the stats don’t lie. Next season Knight needs to get her community service and charitable work in line, and should be the Badgers 4th Patty Kaz winner, but this year Duggan deserves all the accolades. She is truly the definition of an all around player, and a Badger Great. Duggan, Knight, Decker might not just be a nice line combo, but the next three Patty Kaz winners, if East Coast Bias doesn’t thwart the effort.

I’ll be enjoying the games in some form from my buddy’s condo in Honolulu, Hawaii. To those who are making the trip, enjoy the games and cheer hard for the Women to bring home #4!

Photos from life.com and hockeyjournal.com

WCHA Early Departures Start (Maybe)

It's being speculated by @hammyhockey and Gopher Puck Live that Minnesota defenseman Aaron Ness has decided to leave after his junior season at Minnesota to sign a pro contract with the New York Islanders which selected him in the second round of the NHL Draft.

After winning the Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award and coming to Minnesota with pocket full of hype, Ness has never progressed to the point of being an impact player in the WCHA. In three seasons at Minnesota, the player that came in known for his offensive play has 46 points in 111 games.

Ryan Cardinal, a writer for the Gopher Puck Live website said it best. "In the end he turned into another Minnesota player that excelled at neither end of the ice and wasn’t big enough to make a physical impact."

Ness is the first departure from the WCHA this season but this is sure to only be the start. The WCHA has been hammered with early departures over the past few seasons so you can expect more underclassmen to sign.

Update: Neil Sheehy, who is the "family advisor" for Ness spoke with @QuickFacts tonight and said this about the situation. "There have been no contract discussions between Ness & the Islanders."

Someone has some explaining to do...

WCHA Early Departure Tracker:
Aaron Ness-University of Minnesota
Jake Gardiner-University of Wisconsin

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Schultz 100% Coming Back, Smith Likely As Well

That didn't take long.

While much of the fan base is (rightfully) still depressed about the Wisconsin men's hockey team's season coming to an end at the hands of Colorado College last night, that is sure to change.

Andy Baggot from the Wisconsin Sate Journal is reporting that Sophomore defenseman and leading scorer from this seasons squad is 100% returning to school. According to the report Schultz, who is a second round draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks met with the Ducks assistant GM Dave McNab over the weekend and informed him of his decision.

This shows very good maturity on the part of Schultz who undoubtedly would have been offered close to a max rookie contract with the Ducks. I believe Schultz realizes while ultra talented offensively, he's still got work to do to improve himself defensively before he's ready for the NHL. Personally I've always felt that if you're going to leave school early it should be for the NHL, not to play a season in the AHL.

Next seasons blueline should look pretty solid. While it's all but a foregone conclusion that Gardiner will sign, the Badgers will return 5 players that saw pretty significant action this season with Schultz, Simonelli, Springer, Faust, and Ramage. The Badgers will add NTDP defenseman Jake McCabe to the mix as Benilde-St. Margarates D-man Patrick Daly. Chase Drake who is being red-shirted this season is also expected to compete for ice time next season.

Update: I'm not sure foregone conclusion would be the right term for Gardiner leaving. I know he really enjoys it in Madison and it would not shock me if he did stay. I guess the way last offseason played out makes me a little gun why when it comes to departures so you naturally assume a player of his caliber will sign. If indeed he stays, Wisconsin instantly becomes one of those hand full of teams in discussion for the Frozen Four next season. Let's not push him out just yet.

Baggot also spoke with Sophomore forward Craig Smith, the second leading scorer on the Badgers this season. While Smith didn't give Baggot any promises, it sounds as if he's a heavy lean to come back.

Smith was the most dynamic forward for the Badgers this season and should have been named to the end of the season All-Conference team. A fourth round draft pick of the Nashville Predators, Smith is following in the path of 2010 Hobey Baker winner Blake Geoffrion. While maybe not expected to be a four year player, Smith can see the success Geoffrion had coming back to school and how it developed him as an all around player.

The biggest question mark left is Junior Jordy Murray. Last off season Murray weighed his options on going to Europe to play pro hockey but ultimately decided to return to school. At this point as a junior, close to finishing his degree, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me to make the move to Europe and waste your final free year of school when you can go over in a year any way.

If Murray returns, along with Smith most likely returning, and Zengerle, Barnes, Mersch and Derek Lee, Wisconsin has a fairly potent top 6 next season. Add in some of the freshmen, increased roles for guys like Jason Clark, and Jefferson Dahl and I'm already getting excited for the puck to drop next fall.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thanks Again Seniors

Brett Bennett: You decided to transfer in here after a few seasons at Boston University knowing that you were going to be going up against a player in your same class at the same position. You battled injuries and at times spent lengthy periods of time without starts. Never once did you voice displeasure over your situation. You handled everything like a professional, like a Badger. Thank you.

Sean Dolan: Never the flashiest player, but always got the job done. The consummate veteran centerman. Will be remembered at Wisconsin for having the honor of wearing the captains "C" as a senior. You embody the spirit of a Wisconsin captain and I know you will carry that honor with you your entire life. Thank you.

Scott Gudmandson: After two untested seasons to start your career in Madison you there were many question marks. Another goalie was even brought in to challenge you. Yet you stayed focused, helped backstop the team to an NCAA Championship game as a junior. You came back your senior season and were even better. Thank You.

Patrick Johnson: With your last name brings great expectations. You never once shied away from that. When the team was faltering down the stretch this season you stepped up and took things into your own hands, scoring 5 goals in the last 5 games of the regular season. Exactly what a Johnson would do. Thank you.

Craig Johnson: Coming in as a freshman walk on out of the NAHL, no one was sure what to expect out of you. By the time you were a senior you turned yourself in to a fan favorite for steady play, night in and night out. One of the biggest compliments a defenseman can have is when you can go a game without hearing their name much. There are a ton of games that I don't even remember you playing because you rarely put yourself in bad spots to get beat. Thank you.

Podge Turnbull: For one reason or another you were in and out of the lineup most of your career but always seemed to make the most of your time on the ice. As an NHL draft pick you could have caused a stir, or turned pro and bolted but you stayed for your four years, and put up with some injustices because you're a Badger. Thank you.

This senior class started with nine, and along the way lost a few to the pros, and added a transfer. It's been an honor to watch you six throughout your careers at the University of Wisconsin. You were a part of a team that played for a National Championship. And while you didn't ultimately get that ring, you will forever be remembered as Badgers. My hat is off to you all.

Thank you.

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Seasons Over, UW loses to CC 2-1 In Season Finale

This one hurts...

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Badgers blow third period lead, lose 4-3 in OT

Season is on the line tomorrow.

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Saturday Night Playoff Lineup vs Colorado College

WISCONSIN

Jordy Murray-Craig Smith-Mark Zengerle
Patrick Johnson-Podge Turnbull-Tyler Barnes
Michael Mersch-Sean Dolan-Derek Lee
Ryan Little-Jefferson Dahl-Keegan Meuer

Jake Gardiner-Justin Schultz
Craig Johnson-John Ramage
Joe Faust-Frankie Simonelli

Scott Gudmandson

COLORADO COLLEGE


Tim Hall-Nick Dineen-William Rapuzzi
Dakota Eveland-Scott Winkler-Tyler Johnson
Jaden Schwartz-Rylan Schwartz-Stephen Schultz
Alexander Krushelnyski-David Civitarese-Jeff Collett

Ryan Lowery-Eamonn McDermott
Gabe Guetnzel-Joe Marciano
Mike Boivin-Arthur Bidwell

Joe Howe

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Multiple WCHA elimination games tonight

It's strange to think about but tonight could be the end of the season for multiple WCHA teams. Tonight serves as no only an elimination game from the WCHA Playoffs for some teams that lost last night, but also would eliminate teams from NCAA tournament contention.

Colorado College who entered last night's game on the NCAA tournament bubble at #14 in the PWR fell to #20. A loss tonight eliminates them from tournament consideration and ends their season.

Minnesota, St. Cloud State, Michigan Tech, and Minnesota State are in the same boat. All four schools are down 1-0 in the best of three first round WCHA series and a loss tonight would would end their seasons as none of them are high enough in the PWR to get an at large birth without at minimum advancing to the Final Five next weekend.

The only school who is down 1-0 this weekend and won't see their season come to a close with a loss tonight is Nebraska-Omaha. The Mavericks are currently 12th in the PWR right now but a loss to Bemidji State wouldn't hurt them that significantly since Bemidji already owns the comparison between the two teams.

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Women's NCAA Quarterfinal Streaming Online

If you're stuck living in Ohio like me, or if you're someplace else where you have internet access but can't get to the Kohl Center tonight, I have good news. UWBadgers.com will be streaming live video of the women's NCAA Quarterfinal game between the Badgers and the Foreign Legion tonight. FOR FREE.

Click here to access the video stream and be part of the game in spirit. There's also a GameTracker with live stats here.

And as always, it's a great day for hockey!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wisconsin Opens Up WCHA Playoffs With 3-1 Win

Nice solid effort from everyone on the roster Friday night. Need to be more disciplined but overall a very nice performance.

WSJ (Baggot)-Faust's first career goal jump-starts Badgers
Colorado Springs Gazette (Paisley)-Wisconsin drops CC in playoff opener
Eye of the Tigers (Paisley blog)-Emptying the notebook
UWBadgers.com-Unlikely hero's spring Badgers to 3-1 win to open WCHA playoffs
UWBadgers.com-Game day blog
UWBadgers.com-Final Stats
CCTigers.com-Wisconsin draws first blood
USCHO.com-Box Score

BOX SCORE

Second Period
Colorado College-1 Nick Dineen (Gabe Guentzel, Stephen Schultz) PPG 5:53
Wisconsin-1 Joe Faust (Michael Mersch, Sean Dolan) 12:11

Third Period
Wisconsin-2 Ryan Little (Keegan Meuer, Jefferson Dahl) GWG 4:12
Wisconsin-3 Jefferson Dahl (Jordy Murray) ENG 19:49

Goaltender Saves
Wisconsin-1 Scott Gudmandson (60:00 W) 8 9 10 = 27 (1 GA)
Colorado College-1 Joe Howe (58:26 L) 6 6 7 = 19 (2 GA)

Scores from around the WCHA


Bemidji State 4, Nebraska-Omaha 2
Alaska-Anchorage 4, Minnesota 3
North Dakota 8, Michigan Tech 0
Minnesota Duluth 4, St. Cloud State 2
Denver 4, Minnesota State 2

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Radio coverage this weekend

With no television access this weekend I just wanted to pass along this radio information for our men's team who is playing in the first round of the WCHA Playoffs at Colorado College and our women's team who is hosting Minnesota-Duluth in the first round of the NCAA tournament at the Kohl Center on Saturday.

Saturday's UW women's game will be broadcast live in Madison on 92.1FM, WXXM. This weekend's UW/CC WCHA playoff series will air live on 1310,WIBA-Madison and the Badger Sports Network.

The following is the list of radio stations in the Badger Sports Network:

WDKM-FM 106.1 Adams
WBEV-FM 95.3 Beaver Dam
WBEV-AM 1430 Beaver Dam
WWIS-FM 99.7 Black River Falls
WBIZ-AM 1400 Eau Claire
WFAW-AM 940 Fort Atkinson
WDUZ-FM 107.5 Green Bay
WDUZ-AM 1400 Green Bay
WIMI-FM 99.7 Hurley
WJMS-AM 590 Ironwood, MI
KQEG-FM 102.7 LaCrosse
WIBA-AM 1310 Madison
WOMT-AM 1240 Manitowoc
WDLB-AM 1450 Marshfield
WIGM-AM 1490 Medford
WAUK-AM 540 Milwaukee
WBHR-AM 660 Minneapolis/St. Cloud
WRJN-AM 1400 Racine
WRDB-AM 1400 Reedsburg/Portage
WRPN-AM 1600 Ripon
WSAU-FM 99.9 Stevens Point
WSAU-AM 550 Wausau

The game will be web-cast on B2Live for a fee.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Recruiting: Zulinick vs Rumpel in BCHL Showdown

I've been severely lacking on recruiting posts lately so as some recruits are wrapping up their seasons and others are starting playoffs and things I thought I would give an update on everyone briefly.

Remember to check out the recruiting statistics website that I try to keep updated which can be found here or on the side bar of our site. I've also updated the potential recruits as well. If you know of anyone that should be added, feel free to send me an e-mail.

Patrick Daly (Benilde-St. Margarets high school)-2011 recruit: Daly's season was completed recently when his BSM squad was defeated by Wayzata in the section playoffs. Daly, who will be coming to Madison straight out of high school finished his senior season with 40 points. He is a finalist for the Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award which will be announced on Sunday.

Tim Davison (Notre Dame Academy high school/Team Wisconsin)-2012 or 2013 recruit: Davison recently wrapped up his high school season with NDA where they were ousted in the State semi-finals by Middleton. Davison finished the high school season with 47 points in 27 games for the Tritons. Davison's season is not over however. Tim will be back in action this weekend with Team Wisconsin as they play in the WAHA state tournament at Cap ice in Middleton.

Nic Kerdiles (USA NTDP U17 and U18)-2012 recruit: Kerdiles has had a phenomenal season with the NTDP and was promoted from the U17 team to the U18 team for a few weeks. Between the two clubs this season Kerdiles had 30 points in 47 games for the red, white, and blue. Kerdiles is hopeful that he will be invited to the U18 world championships in Germany this spring.

Joseph LaBate (Academy of Holy Angels high school)-2011 recruit: LaBate, who committed to Wisconsin over the weekend is an intriguing prospect. Considered a bit of a project, LaBate put up 66 points in 34 games between his high school club and the Upper Mid-West High School Elite League. LaBates season is over as his Holy Angels squad lost to Prior Lake in the Minnesota High School playoffs. LaBate is expected to be a second or third round NHL draft selection. Like Daly, LaBate is a Minnesota Mr. Hockey finalist.

Tyler Lapic (Chicago Steel, USHL)-2011 recruit: Lapic has had an up and down career in the USHL so far and has yet to find the consistency that you would like. Currently Lapic is stuck in a bad situation in Chicago with a bad team. Lapic brings size and skill to the table so once he's in Eaves system hopefully his game will evolve. Lapic has 15 points this season for the Steel.

Jake McCabe (USA NTDP U18)-2011 recruit: The Eau Claire native has had an impressive season for the U18 squad and has started to gain national recognition. His play for Team USA this season has garnered attention among NHL scouts and he's considered a mid-round pick for the 2012 NHL Draft. McCabe, who will be expected to contribute immediately for the Badgers next season has 15 points in 34 games from the blueline for Team USA. McCabe will be a top 4 defenseman when the USA U18's go to Germany for the U18 World Championships.

Corbin McGuire (Fargo Force, USHL/Springfield Pics, EJHL)-2012 recruit: Consider this a lost season for McGuire. The young 1993 born forward who is only a junior in high school made the move to the USHL this season and struggled with the transition before suffering a concussion that forced him on the 45 day IR. Upon his return he was loaned to Springfield of the EJHL where he could be closer to home. Expect a bounce back season for McGuire in 2011.

Brad Navin (Waupaca high school/Team Wisconsin)-2012 or 2013 recruit: Navin was on pace to virtually unanimously win the Wisconsin Mr. Hockey award before a sprained MCL forced Navin to the sidelines. The 6'2 forward put up a ridiculous 52 points in 14 high school games this season with Waupaca before he was injured. Like Davison, Navin is joining Team Wisconsin for the spring season. No word yet on if Navin's knee has recovered enough for him to play at this point.

Matt Paape (Sioux City, USHL)-2011 recruit: Paape came out of the gates hot last season putting points on the board but his pace has slowed considerably. Playing a more responsible two way game, Pappe will be more than ready to play for the Badgers next season. Paape has 11 points for the Musketeers this season.

Brendan Woods (Muskegon, USHL)-2011 recruit: Like I mentioned yesterday in my post, Woods is finally starting to heat up. The 2011 recruit has 5 goals in his past 5 games and is taking a proactive approach to his game. Son of Washington Capitals assistant coach Bob Woods, Brendan's game is progressing to a level where he could be in line to put a few points on the board for the Badgers next season.

Morgan Zulinick (Salmon Arm Silverbacks, BCHL)-2012 recruit: Like the headline indicates, Zulinick and his Salmon Arm squad are in the playoffs and taking on Joel Rumpel and his Penticton Vees. Zulinick missed a few games in the first round of the playoffs due to the flu but he's back and healthy. A junior in high school, Zulinick is having a fine rookie season for the Silverbacks. Zulinick has 32 points in 41 games (including playoffs). He will be one of the top recruits for the 2012 season.

Joel Rumpel (Penticton Vees, BCHL)-2011 recuit: Rumpel, (pictured) is the rock between the pipes for the Vees. Already tabbed as the starting goalie next season for the Badgers, Rumpel has started 51 games this season for the Vees and has very respectable numbers (especially for the high scoring BCHL) with a 2.48 GAA and .910 Save Percentage. Zulinick and his Salmon Arm Silverbacks hold a 2-0 advantage in their second round match up but Rumpel and the Vees aren't backing down.

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